Arnies Recon gives old tech devices a second life to avoid them going to landfill or the home gadget graveyard
Many people love giving or getting the latest phones, tablets, laptops, gaming devices, cameras and TVs this time of year as Christmas gifts. But they don’t know what to do with their old devices besides hoarding them in their gadget graveyard or putting them on the street curb.
According to CleanUp Australia, 88 per cent of the four million computers and three million TVs purchased in Australia every year will end up in landfill, which contributes to the 140,000+ tonnes of electronic waste generated by Australians every year and is growing at three times the rate of any other waste stream.
Fewer than one per cent of TVs and around ten per cent of PCs and laptops are recycled here, even though 98 per cent of their components can be. Sydney-based social enterprise Arnies Recon was founded on the premise that we can enjoy our gadgets and then give them a second chance when we’re done. The company offers free electronics recycling to consumers, businesses, government organisations and schools, providing a more responsible way to dispose of old gadgets.
Arnies Recon has saved over 4.7 thousand tonnes of appliances and electronics from landfill. It has evolved into one of the world’s most sophisticated, holistic and comprehensive recycling models, deploying ten distinct recycling methods, resulting in over 85 product lines.
“It is certainly the case with tech devices that one person’s trash is another person’s treasure and people can feel less guilty about replacing their old tech devices with the knowledge that they will be given a second life,” said Lisa Saunders, co-founder and CEO of Arnies Recon.
Most people have that bottom drawer or cupboard full of unwanted cables, old phones, laptops, desktops, gaming devices, cameras, and TVs, depending on how frequently their gear is replaced. Many people hang on to outdated tech and have various excuses for doing this, even if the devices are no longer working.
There is another way. Once Arnies Recon receives an electronic device, the team try to find the most efficient way to recycle it. They’ll find new homes for the items as they are; this could include collectors or refurbishers who recycle with the lowest footprint possible.
“Recycling saves old devices from being dumped into landfill or confined to a drawer for just-in-case. People can give their old devices and tech a second life while enjoying their new gadgets without guilt,” said Lisa.
“We find people who refurbish and reuse the items as they are or as parts to make whole units. We even locate collectors in Australia and overseas who are excited by retro electronics and want to own or restore old items with nostalgic value,” Lisa continued.
Arnies Recon has partnered with Westfield to provide collection days at some of its shopping centres around Sydney, starting with Bondi Junction, Chatswood and Warringah malls; this will expand to other locations in 2023. They also organise community collections to make it easy for consumers to drop off their small electronics and cables to be recycled at a convenient location in their own neighbourhood.